Thursday, November 29, 2007

Conscience, Sleep

Conscience really gets to me sometimes. I made a decision that I probably wouldn't make if I were still younger and with a more reckless and determined mind. I think it's a good thing.

Anyways, sleep helps. I did a full 8 hours last night, which, in one night, is longer than any any other nights I've had for the past 2 weeks. Finally. Rest.

Thank God for pulling me through this week. I don't remember any of my thoughts of crying out for help, nor do I remember my prayers to ask to for the messy mire of work to be removed, but I know I had suffered. And it is the songs of praise that pulled me through this week, continually reminding me of His unwavering mercy, support and love for all of mankind.

I'm gonna meet my mom and brother later, to go shopping. Haha, I've not shopped for things for ages. I'm such a workaholic. lol.

I am a Hunter Soul

You Are a Hunter Soul

You are driven and ambitious - totally self motiviated to succeed
Actively working to acheive what you want, you are skillful in many areas.
You are a natural predator with strong instincts ... and more than a little demanding.
You are creative, energetic, and an extremely powerful force.

An outdoors person, you like animals and relate to them better than people.
You tend to have an explosive personality, but also a good sense of humor.
People sometimes see you as arrogant or a know it all.
You tend to be a bit of a loner, though you hate to be alone.

Souls you are most compatible with: Seeker Soul and Peacemaker Soul

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No More Late Nights

Right... this just rocks. I missed stats this morning and I'm skipping computer science, all because of my final report.

Gee, I wish I worked at a faster rate. Then I wouldn't be stuck in this weird scenario of trying to study for my post-test, writing my report and preparing for my presentation all within 24 hours.

Man, my life is messed up.

Monday, November 26, 2007

太可爱了!

有的小孩真是太可爱了。小于十岁的小女生,居然问我:“你有没有老婆?”

我回答:“当然没有啦...干嘛这么问?”
小女生:“你没有老婆,也没有女朋友,怎么那么喜欢小孩子?”
我:“没太太,没女友,就不能喜欢小孩吗?”

她在说那番话之后,我心中简直是哭笑不得......

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pulling Through - 走出去就有路

I've had a pounding headache all day yesterday and today, and I figure it's from the insomniac habits that I've acquired over the week. And I've had some thoughts as I passed through the week.

It seemed on Monday that I would have a long, long week. With 5 assignments due over 3 days, I could see no reprieve - knowing myself, I would stay up until the wee hours of the night just working and working on them tirelessly. It would be bad...

Fast forward five days, and after 5 nights of sleeping less than 4 hours each night (sleeping at 5.30am on Thursday morning and waking at 8am - just in time for BIOL200 class after writing Philosophy all night), I've been functioning, not living. Surprisingly, I'm functioning well. Under such conditions, I've successfully completed one PCR genotyping of 22 samples of mice, including 4 controls that we use making for a total of 26. The bands came out nice too. And I even did my analysis of the gel properly too! OMG, I can't believe it now...

But then my thoughts as I bought my final cup of peppermint mocha for the week weren't rejoicing over how well I pulled through. Not at all, rather; I've merely survived. No more than that. 

The real meat of my thoughts lay in God's promise though. When I was at my lowest this week, when I thought I couldn't pull through, I sat there at my desk listening to different Chinese worship songs by 赞美之泉, and that really lifted my spirits up. No particular song, no lyrics particularly struck me, but the emotions of peace inside me were immediately stirred up, and it kept me going. 云上太阳,宝贵十架,宝贵十架(韩语), and 祷告 were the four songs that I had recently downloaded, and the Korean version of 宝贵十架 really was so beautiful. Somehow, with these songs playing through my life these four days, I pulled through. God's promise never fails.

In any case, the PCR went well, I was happy, and now I can look forward to some good rest tonight. Though I am very tired, I guess I have some last few duties for the night before I head to bed. Laundry, cleanup, and getting rid of my bean sprouts in a dish for food tomorrow are the prime things I have to clean up, before I enjoy tonight's rest.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tiredness

OMG, for the first time in a long time, I slept in the wee hours of the morning rather than early at night. And I mean, like, really, the wee hours of the morning - 5.30 am. Nobody's awake, nobody disturbing me... *sigh* I really hope I can survive Thursday well enough. STAT200 assignment, and I'm done with it... Gonna go to Zhang Yi's place to watch "Amazing Grace"... and then I'm sleeping early tonight.

BSOD, do NOT come upon me. 

Friday, November 16, 2007

First Time

OMGOMG, for the first time ever, I've finished an exam early and was the first to submit it. OMGOMG...

That said, hopefully I don't bum out of the exam badly. (*crosses fingers for more than 90%!)

Oh... ow... CPSC111 - 33/40. *sigh* Gonna have to work harder for all the finals.

Time to move onto the final sprint of the exam.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Where God Leads

So today, UBC had a power outage. Most of the buildings were hit, and I decided to go in search of power. After all, I'm like an electricity addict.

I started with the LSC. Lights on, but no power. Then I went to the SUB/Gage area. No power still. Then I tried the Village. Power was on, but there's no place to sit.

Finally, as a last resort, I went off to Regent College. That's where electricity was on, the library was open, and there were plenty of empty slots for sitting.

If I were to think of this symbolically, then God's path is always the best. I tried the things of the world, but they didn't work. The place was filled with people, all enjoying it and being merry. The road there was wide. But to Regent, the road was narrow. Few followed it, myself included, until I found that the wide road was undesirable, and that the narrow road was left - the only route that could be walked.

The Path is just amazing.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Plant A Garden

It's time to plant our gardens. As you plant, may I suggest the
following rules for your garden planting:

PLANT three rows of squash:
Squash gossip.
Squash criticism.
Squash indifference.

PLANT three rows of peas:
Positive thinking
Patience
Perseverance

PLANT six rows of lettuce:
Let us be unselfish and loyal.
Let us be faithful to duty.
Let us search for truth.
Let us not be weary in well-doing.
Let us be obedient in all things.
Let us love one another.

NO GARDEN is complete without turnips:
Turn up with a smile, even when things are difficult.
Turn up with determination to do your best for the good of your fellow man.
-- Anonymous

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Programming

Kudos to Phillip Mah for giving me guidance on solving the last 1/5 of my CPSC111 assignment - blurring. An elegant solution contrasted with my clunky code that I was trying to do. Working on it for 3 days already, and I finally get it done.

Man, thanks Phil. =)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Lab Day 4

Today I saw a mouse dissection. So in a way, I've taken BIOL204 lab without actually doing it.

Lisa the grad student was taking lymph node, thymus and spleen samples from this mouse that had just died from cancer. I watched, thinking I'd puke at any moment, but I didn't. Somehow, her confidence at working with these mice got to me as well, and I stared intently at the way she sliced open the fur, got through to the inner epithelial layer, and pulled back the skin of the mouse. She picked off the peripheral lymph nodes, and then sliced open the inner epithelial layer, before picking out the spleen, the lymph nodes of the intestine (it was a mess...) and the thymus. I prodded around and found the liver lobes, kidneys, lungs, heart and bladder.

Tomorrow there'll be more. I hope I get to work on the single-cell suspensions... that'd help me get back on track again.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

CurryFest

OMG, these few days I've been eating so much curry, it's not even funny.

Tuesday, Phyllis gives me Singapore Chicken Curry to eat. It is gone by Wednesday. Yummy.

Friday, Aunty Mei gives me Singapore Chicken Curry to eat. It's still in my fridge.

Sunday, I cook Thai Green Curry to eat with Junning. We don't finish it, because he also makes baked fish. It's in my fridge.

And Sunday evening, after tutoring Shaun, Carolyn gives me Singapore Chicken Curry again. And this time, the best part is that it's with roti prata too. YUMM!!

OMG, CurryFest, curry galore. 感谢主,赐下一周丰盛的、好吃的!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Jamming

I know that if I don't start writing this entry, I'll probably start crying at a very inappropriate time.

I am jamming with Charles, Joey, Si Rim and Rachel right now... a bunch of us from Sci1. Gee, and just seeing how into it we all are... makes me think of the innocence that we all possess right now, while we are still students. I see Si Rim enjoying his bass, completely into the music. I see Rachel playing the piano, completely enjoying the moment, her need of destressing. I see Joey, enjoying all the musical songs that we are jamming right now. Lastly, but definitely not least, I see Charles, enjoying himself. He proclaims himself to be tone-deaf, and I can hear it so. But he's there bellowing it all out, the songs that he knows.

I wonder sometimes, what will we all end up as? Having experienced the unexpected death of a classmate before, I sometimes wonder about death. Not that I have a morbid fascination with it, though. What would happen if one of us were to leave this earth? What legacy would we leave in others' hearts, in others' minds, in others' lives?

And so the night goes on, we all enjoying each other's company, and I ponder in reflection. Maybe it's time for me to try experiencing the moment rather than focus on other things.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Day 2 at Lab

It really felt like day 1, because I was given a hands-on chance to pipette stuff, rather than just observe. But I digress.

It's a good feeling to be back in the lab, working away with chemicals and biological samples, pipetting numerous times, forcing myself to be uber-careful with whatever I'm working with. Thanks so much to Jill (lab tech) for giving me the chance to do hands-on work as opposed to just observe. I definitely felt a lot more confident this time round, especially when it came to my pipetting skills. Hopefully, I'll keep up this confidence in knowing that what I'm doing is right.

In any case, I missed out on this morning's class, which means I missed out on 50% of Dr. Berger's lecture for the week! Ouch! I am sooooooo going to make sure that I sleep on time next Wednesday, so that I don't sleep in on Thursday. Gee.

A random thought - as I stepped out of the LSC, I smelled the fresh, cold air. This is another reason why I'm back home, and, more importantly, this is another reason to protect the environment.

100% Record

AHHHHH!!!! My 100% record to this term has finally been shattered. =(

I finally managed to skip one lecture - BIOL200 lecture. Oh the horrors of midnight sleeps! I shall go to bed at 10.30 from now onwards. No more staying up late. And MSN - you will be closed!.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Scientist

Ahh, so I am on the right career track after all!


You Are An INTJ

The Scientist

You have a head for ideas - and you are good at improving systems.
Logical and strategic, you prefer for everything in your life to be organized.
You tend to be a bit skeptical. You're both critical of yourself and of others.
Independent and stubborn, you tend to only befriend those who are a lot like you.

In love, you are always striving to improve your relationship.
You have strong ideas of what love should be like.

At work, you excel in figuring out difficult tasks. People think of you as "the brain."
You would make an excellent scientist, engineer, or programmer.

How you see yourself: Reasonable, knowledgeable, and competent

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Aloof, controlling, and insensitive

Friday, October 19, 2007

Digital Rebel

For you camera buffs out there... do not despair...

[CPSC111 Class, 9.00 am, Introduction to Computing]
Kurt Eiselt (instructor): "I'm going my own way this time. I'm a rebel."
Eric Ma (myself, student): "You're a Digital Rebel."
Kurt Eiselt: "No, no, let's not go there. Digital Rebel is a camera... 'You're a camera...'"
Eric Ma: [chuckles for like a whole 5 minutes]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Slime

OMG, I was cooking fried rice today, and I had this thin coating of carbs from rice on my fingers. I wet it with some water, and felt it slimy and sticky... and then I recalled Dr. Berger's lectures on carbohydrate networks as a part of the extracellular matrix forming a slime coating for cells.

BIOL200 RAWKS!

Volunteer Position

And yet another piece of good news to boost my spirit this morning. =)

I've been accepted into Dr. Ninan Abraham's lab as a volunteer student! Just received the confirmation e-mail a few minutes ago.

Gonna meet him on Thursday to confirm my schedule.

YES!

I Will Get There

So today, I finished all of my first mid-terms. With CPSC111 going well, STAT200 going well, and BIOL200 going okay, I'm glad to have survived them all. Granted, I do have an easier time than my peers, some of whom have to go through mid-terms every week... But in the long-run, all exams do take a toll on us to some degree, don't they?

I'm only glad to have been blessed with the wisdom to manage my time, and the prudence to keep myself nourished and rested during this week. Having gone through with the worship team on Sunday as well (and completely throwing myself in the arms of God and enjoying it in the process), I guess I have also been blessed with a time of peace prior to the buildup of this mid-term. My homework isn't in some messy disarray either, and readings are the only thing that I really do need to catch up on.

In retrospect, I have pulled through, and I have gone through it all. Not by my strength alone, that is the reminder I have for myself, though. It is through the Higher Power alone that I can do this without wrecking myself.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Satisfaction, Elation

Today was my first day up with the worship team. And to readers of this blog who used to know that I was a staunch atheist and still don't know otherwise, you will be stunned to read that first sentence.

Anyways, first day up with them, and it felt amazing. This kind of service is the kind of service which I think I'm most suited for - teamwork, complementing each other, making things work. I remember working through the 2nd last song, I think it was And Can It Be - this time round, having a drummer behind me got my harmony going a lot better. After that song, I was happy. I was satisfied, and I smiled, feeling the peace within my heart.

I figure now, that with that peace inside me, I can settle down to look through the next four things on my list:
  1. Hume - PHIL230A
  2. Mid-Term - BIOL200
  3. Lab - CPSC111
  4. Assignments - BIOL240
Pray that I will get through them all.

Game

This game was introduced to me by Mo, so I give Mo full credit for letting me know about this game.

Randomly draw 4, 5 or 6 cards from a shuffled deck of cards. Using any of the four basic mathematical operators, combine all four cards to form a pre-defined number.

I've played this game with Mo, Charles Zhu, Charles Au, Josephine and Irfan, and this really provoked some thoughts in me with regards to problem solving.
  1. One has to simplify the problem into its essentials.
  2. There can be many solutions to one problem.
  3. With a defined criteria, the best solution can be found.
I've been quite inspired, having talked to Irfan, Charles and Joey about the outcomes of the game. I think that it's a very good game to teach to this year's kids. Like, maybe in a tutorial, we can devote one hour of time towards it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pleasant Surprise

Now, just yesterday, I had a pleasant surprise come in the morning - my mid-term for CPSC111. I scored 43/45!!! Amazing!!! I can't wait to see STAT200, though; I'm sure I have conceptual errors that will bar me from getting the full 60/60, but we'll see. I do want to know where I'm going wrong, though.

And yesterday, I bumped into an alumni of TCHS who is in this year's Sci1 class. Awesome! So, if I count all the people that I've met who have studied along Bt Timah Road, there's him, there's Alina, and there's Michelle. 3 now. Interesting. This world is really small.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Code

Man, CPSC111 MT was such an amusing MT.

"Instance fields gain values through:
A. Osmosis
B. [something that I forgot]
C. [something that I forgot]
D. [something that I forgot]"

Having seen the "osmosis", I chuckled and wrote down this code:

public class BoredStudentThatFinishedEarly
{
public static void main ( String[] args )
{
String a = "Osmosis";
System.out.println("Instance fields gain variables through " + a);
System.out.println("hahahahahahahahahaha.......);
}
}

You Java programming folks out there will surely know what this code means. ;-)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Jesus Is Black

This is a classic one, which I saw on a friend's MSN display name.

"Jesus must be black. He called everyone brother, got beaten up by the police, and couldn't get a fair trial."

一把大雨伞,自己独自用

Thoughts came to me while looking simultaneously doing a few things - reading Gauthier for PHIL230A (Moral Theory), thinking about the sermon given by Geoff (UC's head pastor), and looking at photos on Facebook. And all of this was done after I came back through a blitzing shower of pouring rain, with a big yellow umbrella in hand.

Well, I guess it really was the photos on Facebook that got me thinking. I saw photos of 7B on Changfang's profile. My old class back in Hwa Chong. And then I realized how far I've come in my journey alone in Canada.

The day I left Singapore was the day I left Choops. A few years later, she would leave me too. My mom would leave me here to figure out how to become more independent. And then I'd start building up a group of friends here, of people I'd know.

I've been thinking about that moment when I was left alone. Here. Back home in Canada. Paradoxically foreign. I was atheist, back then. And I thought, I'd be able to fend for myself here. I know English, I still sound Canadian, and I'm probably going to be able to adapt here. I was wrong. Being alone isn't easy - thinking about Tim Christie's (PHIL230A lecturer) thought experiment of the lone survivor after a superbug can certainly get one thinking about sanity and reason. But that's an extreme digression.

Geoff mentioned how sometimes, in our walk through life, we grasp and feel but cannot sense the presence of God. It's almost as if we're out there wandering on our own. It's how I've felt for the past two years. And I still don't know where I'm going.

Suddenly, this year, I've been able to maintain a 100% record (that sounds soooo like ESPN Soccernet) going into my academics. Yet suddenly, this year, I have become more like a recluse. I have opened myself up less to my friends, and I think in part it's because I'm so afraid to expose myself. Yet, isn't that part of being friends, that we all get to know each other a bit better, slowly? I couldn't picture myself doing that.

They always say, it's always good to have a friend or a buddy to walk with you through life. And I'm glad for finding Jesus to walk with me through that journey. But Jesus isn't somebody who I can see, hear or sense physically. He's a person who exists out there, still present, but sensed with our hearts. Oh the pain, sometimes, not to know that there's another physical person out there who's in the same situation as I am with whom I can communicate - it's a lonely journey, is it not?

I don't fit completely well with Singaporeans, in part because I identify myself as being Canadian more than Singaporean, and in part because of painful memories associated with the booming little island. I don't fit completely well with people from Mainland China, in part because I don't think like them very much. Heck, I don't even fit very well with Canadians born here - because I'm not that completely Canadian to start with. I'm a hodgepodge of cultures blended into one. 中西并筹. East Meets West, in my very own unique degree.

That ain't fun, I guess, because people here can be pretty homogeneous. By homogeneous, I mean clumpy homogeneous. That is to say, people gather into cliques in which I don't completely fit in very well. I hang out with a lot of grad students, but I'm not one of them. I can hang out with undergrads well, but ultimately, I don't think like them. I hang out with my friends from China, but I don't speak as well as they do, and we have some ideological differences at times. I hang out with my Chinese Canadian friends, but they're very Westernized. And Canadians themselves -- I dunno.

I call this place home because I'm born here, and because I can identify some parts of my life with this place. But it can be tough being so uniquely myself here. Especially when I have such a strong personality that doesn't endear itself to any particular group of people. Not that I wanna be popular - I rather enjoy some degree of seclusion. But the amount I'm getting now, having to walk through this journey of my life alone for two years - it's getting really dreary.

When will I find that friend, that buddy, who knows how I'm feeling?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Broken English

(Needs to be proficient with BROKEN ENGLISH though)
> An English Test........... > > @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ > > Guess what it mean before looking the answer. > Please upgrade your English standard!! >
> New word for the day -- 'Fanquevallemud'
>
> Its amazing, you will understand the above word
> by the end of the following conversation... Read
> aloud for the best results. This has been
> nominated for the best email of 1999.
>
> The following is a telephone exchange between a
> hotel guest and room-service at a hotel.
>
>
> (RS): 'Moling! Loom sirfesee'
>
> (G ): 'Yes......'
>
> (RS): 'Dju witch true odor somefing??'
>
> (G ): 'Uh..yes..I'd like some bacon and eggs'
>
> (RS): 'How July it done peace?'
>
> (G ): 'What??'
>
> (RS): 'How July it done?... If, boy?'
>
> (G ): 'Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry,
> scrambled please.'
>
> (RS): 'Howbow bkan?'
>
> (G ): 'Crisp will be fine.'
>
> (RS): 'O light. An some DOS?'
>
> (G ): 'What?'
>
> (RS ): 'Dosee. July some DOS?'
>
> (G ): 'I feel really bad about this, but I don't
> know what 'Door-C' means.'
>
> (RS): 'Mmm...............Toes! Toes!...'
>
> (G ): 'O, you mean Toasts!....No, do you have
> something else?'
>
> (RS): 'Howbow ink-Ga-nutsu mudfun?'
>
> (G ): 'English muffin!! I've got it! Yes, an
> English muffin will be fine.'
>
> (RS): 'Copy?'
>
> (G ): 'Sorry?'
>
> (RS): 'Copy...Mill...all T?'
>
> (G ): 'Yes. Coffee please, and that's all.'
>
> (RS): 'O light. Seeangle ache, quits bkan, DOS,
> mudfun and copy..wite??'
>
> (G ): 'Well....Whatever you say'
>
> (RS): 'Fanquevallemud!'
>
> (G ): 'You're welcome'
>
> @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
>
> Got the word? Bingo! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!


Hilarious!!!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I know I'm guilty of not paying attention in class right now, but I am so excited for the coming few days.

First, BIOL240.

After talking with Celeste about some possible experiments that could be done, I found that a pulse-chase experiment sounds like a pretty exciting thing to do. I'm going to bring that out for discussion with my BIOL240 group mates.

Next, LSC Lab.

Tomorrow's the day that I go in for an interview with Dr. Ninan Abraham and his lab. Exciting!!! But I don't know how it'll go, or whether I'll be hired as a volunteer there. *crosses fingers*

Finally, going back to regular hours of sleep.

After being completely brutalized by the previous week's essay, I'm now praying for strength and discipline not to take afternoon naps and to sleep at 10.30 pm again. Hopefully, after today's full day of classes, that will come true.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Letting Go

I just saw your post, after finishing off reading what I needed to read in my cell biology textbook. And it brought thoughts.

Pleasant memories which I'll never forget. Never, trust me, I'll never forget them. The times we enjoyed, the joy I always saw in your face. The hugs, the quiet moments spent together, the beautiful night out during MAF in our final year of school.

And then the tears that fell. I never really liked to show mine, because I'm just like that, but I remember looking back as I went through the doors at Changi airport. I saw you, and then I saw you fall into Kai Ling with tears flowing down. My heart fell, but I knew I had to go on. I had this calling to go home, back home, a place where I could start my life afresh. A place where I didn't have the baggage of a painful past of 10 years. Yet leaving you would mean another painful memory to take along back home to Canada. What irony.

I haven't told many people this, but I think only my mom knows it, coz she was sitting beside me on the plane. I opened the paper bag you gave me, and read the journal. And I read the entries you wrote. I saw your joy, your sadness, your happiness, your tears (literally, the tears smeared over your handwriting). I'm not going to reveal them here, because to me, they're still private, and I still cherish them. But the next thing I knew, I was silently tearing in my eyes, not a sniffle, not a sob, just me sitting in tears for the next 20 minutes on the plane. Over the next two years, I would do that another 4 times. Yes, I counted. The paper bag's gone now, but its contents haven't been lost.

I sometimes think about what happened that night we stopped. We had diverged so much, yet were still clinging onto our memories in the last year of school. I had converted from a complete atheist to a complete theist, embracing the faith I once rejected and attacked. I guess I wasn't the big hero that I used to be. I had become weak in will over the months of being independent here, but I had found a higher level of happiness in my newfound faith. One that came from a calling to let down my burdens and experience love first before trying to love. And by love, I don't mean romantic love, but unconditional, unfailing, and unending overflowing love. Superlatives don't work here, because they can't describe the love that God has for us.

The day I believed, I repented on my sins of pride and selfishness, my two biggest problems, and I made a choice not to go with pride and selfishness again. It happened all in a flash, and for me, an irrational experience confronted me with a very simple rational choice - pride or no pride? Self or Christ? In both questions, I chose the latter, because I realized, there's no other way out for me. In a way, I returned to the teachings of my first school in Singapore, St. Andrew's. Looking back, I'm now glad I had this grounding behind me.

But it was me trying to share this with you that triggered it all. Oh, how much pain I had, looking at the MSN transcript unveiling itself before my eyes. I foresaw it, that I was going to lose you, but I didn't want to. How I wanted for you to come to know this source of love, not so that we could strengthen our bond, but rather because I just wanted you to know about God. But just at a point where I had the belief that, through Christ, I could try again to work it out with you, we stopped.

Pain compounded the pain. Hopes raised only to be dashed again. And it wasn't your fault. Because you were right, we hadn't grown together, which was why it failed. If I didn't heed the calling to go back home, would both of us had so much pain? I wonder, sometimes. In any case, I cried all night again, and went to work the next day.

But stopping was liberating too. It was as if the burden of something that wasn't going to work anyways was lifted off me, and better earlier than later too, when we've both wasted our youthful years on a failed journey.

I have moved on, because I know it's wrong for me to hold on to the past. But it doesn't mean I've stopped remembering you and our times together. On MSN, you're still listed under that special category of people reserved for my family. I still keep the box of memoirs you've given to me, and I've now named it my 'Happy Memories' box. It's private, not privy to the eyes of people around me, not even my roommate, and I've only selectively added more things to it. But I'm afraid to open it, or even view the videos that Yiwen and the Darwin Gals took, because they will bring me back to the past, and I will cry again. Yes, I'm that weak. But having written all that, I figure I will open the box again, and start rummaging through my past.

I know that if we meet again, I will not feel awkward around you. Because we are still friends, and we will still talk and laugh together. I figure you'll still giggle at nerdy jokes, coz I'm still lame enough to crack that kind of stuff. But I know that we've stopped, and that there'll be boundaries which I'm more than happy not to cross.

But I've moved on, and so must you. And don't hold back, because you'll not be cheating anybody. I'd hate to see you become a nun-like character, much as I wouldn't be able to become a monk-like character. If you feel it's right, go and find someone else, because you won't be cheating on me, and I know that you now probably have the wisdom to find him and give him everything, as he will give you everything, and won't be as selfish and stubborn as I was two years ago on December 5th 2005, when I flew home. When that happens, I will be happy for you, because it would be the indication to me that you've been liberated from your past, and found a new life.

I'm re-united with Christ whom I lost when I rejected Him in P5, and in doing so, I found a new life too. I now no longer worry about things that haven't been assigned under my care, things I can't control, because I know that somebody above is managing it all, and that all I have to do is give my best. He will find me somebody, if it's meant to be.

There's this hymn which we sang, back in SAJS. It's called "Pass It On", and it's a very nice song. I dedicate this song to you, now, in hope that you will join this big family. Not because I want to be back with you again, coz I know it's not what both of us will want, but because I sincerely believe in Him and that I'm here to share the love.
It only takes a spark to get a fire going.
And soon all those around, can warm up in glowing.
That's how it is with God's love,
Once you've experienced it, you spread His love to everyone;
You want to pass it on.

What a wondrous time is spring, when all the trees are budding;
The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming.
That's how it is with God's love;
Once you've experienced it, you want to sing
"It's fresh like spring"; you want to pass it on.

I wish for you my friend, this happiness that I've found.
You can depend on Him, it matters not where you're bound.
I'll shout it from the mountain top - PRAISE GOD
I want the world to know; the Lord of love has come to me,
I want to pass it on.

I Am A Green Crayon

Exactly a week since I last posted something.

Inspiration for this little test came from Audrey's blog, which I haven't visited in ages, and was only just reminded of its presence on the web from talking to her (albeit for a very, very short period over MSN).


You Are a Green Crayon

Your world is colored in harmonious, peaceful, natural colors.
While some may associate green with money, you are one of the least materialistic people around.
Comfort is important to you. You like to feel as relaxed as possible - and you try to make others feel at ease.
You're very happy with who you are, and it certainly shows!

Your color wheel opposite is red. Every time you feel grounded, a red person does their best to shake you.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Oh no! I've lost my glasses!!!!!! Time to go retracing my steps...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A New Start

So it's definitely been a long while since I last updated this blog. I'll take some time to do so before I report for my last shift at Staples.

A lot of things have happened this week, and I could say I have gone through an emotional rollercoaster. On Monday, I finally witnessed a positive result from the experiments that Evette, the PhD student I've been working under at the lab, had from the ELISA we were doing up to 10.30pm at night. So that night ended on a positive note.

Then, on Tuesday, I forgot all about proper practices of labelling, and I mislabelled Valeria's (a post-doctoral fellow at the lab too) spleens, and I had to wrack my head to get the correct label out. I ended on a low note.

Wednesday, during class I was put in a group I didn't want to be in, so I talked to Richard about switching out. Another low note.

On Thursday, I had a great day in class, especially for BIOL200 and PHIL230A, where I partook in the discussions very actively and I felt I learned a lot. Then, I went to work, did up my lab duties when I had to speak to Dr. Takei about my lab work. It was there and then that I learned that he wanted to lay me off, and was really sorry for doing so because of the circumstances (I had nothing much more to do; the mice weren't giving birth to knock-outs that we could analyze). I was sad that day, for I had just started to get to know the others there well, especially Tim, who accompanied me down to Java Express for a last coffee (at least in the capacity of colleagues) before I left for home and he left for Flow. I was sad all night.

Friday, Richard tells me that he and I are switching groups together to join another two in the other room, and I sense hope again. Then I check my mail and see that I've had an invitation to join Golden Key, which I did. While working on the CPSC111 problem with Jonas, I receive an e-mail from Dr. Ninan Abraham, who said there may be a possibility for me to volunteer at his lab. In the afternoon, I did my programming for CPSC111, and completed 80% of my homework assignments due on the 25th of Sept, as such freeing my afternoon up. I went for coffee (well, hot chocolate in my case) with Qingning, before coming back home to a night of productive philosophical reading and memorization of amino acids. It ends happily, for I had spent time with friends, was productive, and saw vindication of my efforts.

God put out the rainbow after the flood, as a covenant of His promise to mankind never to bring about such massive destruction. At my lowest point of the week, Thursday, though I didn't consciously know it, I sensed the promise, and kept my hope up. Friday, it all showered down on me. The shower of rain and the gusts of wind that drowned me and blew me around all week stopped, only for me to see light again.

Sad as I still am for losing an opportunity to stay on an have a valuable long-term experience at the lab, I see hope in that opportunity. At random times throughout the day, I will think about what good may have come out of it; Zigang said it is an opportunity sifter to be rejected, so that golden opportunities may come. I really hope I'm on the right train of thought.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Save The Hostages

19 of them are left. Sign the petition. Pressurize the Taliban with the Pashtunwali code.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/honour_the_afghan_code/c.php/?cl=15676322

Monday, August 06, 2007

Friends

A friend in joy, a friend in sorrow.

A friend in solitude, a friend in multitude.

A friend for pain, a friend for pleasure.

A friend for summer, a friend for spring.

A friend for life.

Isn't that what we all need?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Finally

A question weighs on, finally resolved.

A protracted saga, finally at its end.

A burden relieved, finally without weight.

A step forward, finally letting go.

A different perspective, finally making amends.

A final goodbye, finally so sweet.

And I cry.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Awe

As I re-watched the video that I took of China's performance at the HSBC Celebration of Light, it struck me as curious that people only give their "ooohs" and "aaahhhs" at the end of a massive light-up of the sky.

It made me wonder about human nature. Do we only marvel at the big and the flashy? There were many parts of the fireworks display that China put up that made me marvel, and it wasn't the part when the sky was lit up brightly like the sky. I saw the perfect synchronization of music with visuals, the amount of hard work and practice it must take. I saw individual flares flying up in the sky, never exploding into millions of smaller ones, but rather just vanishing into the clouds behind it. I heard the transitions in the music, the instruments, the music itself.

I noticed the rain of individual flares, exploding into a spray of sparkles, on top of which rings of triumph and glory reveal and expand themselves. Yet it did not seem awe-inspiring to the crowd. The technical prowess of the Chinese team never seemed to be on the lips of the people as they left the beach; people were talking about how great the light show was, about how to get out, about partying for the next 6 hours in the night...

Nobody commented about this stuff. Am I alone in these thoughts? Am I the only one that takes notice of the trajectories of the flares, of how perfectly the flares explode? Or does my weird eye and mind take note of the nuances in their performance? Is it my non-conformist way of thought that makes me think about the meaning of the performance, rather than appreciate the performance just simply for what it is? Or am I just forgetting about my KISS acronym - "Keep It Simple, Stupid"?

A pity I haven't been able to upload the videos to my computer. I wonder what's happened. I guess I must fix it.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Surreal

Tonight was one of the few nights where I get completely captivated by something.

China's performance at the HSBC Celebration of Light was simply breathtaking. At about 7.00pm, I biked down from UBC to get to English Bay to catch Xiao Yang, Sarah and Rachel. Xiao Yang's friend Caitlin was there with her dad as well. There, we chilled and I saw Maki as well. So the group of us hung out and watched Xiao Yang and Maki's friend play Chinese Chess.

The announcer was getting pretty annoying, what with all of his repetitive "this fireworks show cost 3 million to display" and "Vancouver, show that you want this display to be shown here every year by cleaning up your garbage", a friendly reminder of the inconsiderate garbage worker strikes that have been going on. Whatever happened to service to community and respecting taxpayer's money?

In any case, I sat there, trying to spot the stars while lying on the beach. One by one, their flickers emerged from behind the curtain of the sky as the sun's spotlight faded behind the horizon.

I can't remember when we had to rise for China's national anthem, but Xiao Yang, Rachel and Sarah were back there bellowing it out so loud, I'm sure that the crowd around them could hear it all. Way to go for patriotism! Haha, I regret missing the Canadian one now... I would have so sang "O Canada" with pride.

Then, over the PA system, the announcer's voice bellowed out, "10, 9, 8,..... 3, 2, 1." and a roar of applause followed by quick silence fell over the hundred-thousand-strong crowd. With my camera in hand, I set the settings for fireworks, and as the first few flares emerged, I started snapping, forgetting about the fact that this was a performance. Then, I heard the music.

It was suddenly surreal. Instinctively, I turned my camera to video mode, and hit the shutter button. I let the music inside me, and it flowed and ebbed like the waves on the beach, reaching my mind at one moment, touching my heart at another. The visuals provided by the fireworks suddenly had meaning. The title of the show, "Time Machine", made it even more captivating. As the flares lit up the sky, the fireworks display left a barrage of images inside of me: of fireflies, of stars, of lamps, of the rainbow, of rings, of... it was a fantastical, it was improbable; it was suddenly surreal.

The music flowed on, at times uplifting, at times troubling, at times inspirational, at times rumbling. I saw the firework flares in the sky - the green ones, the red ones, the blue ones, the yellow ones, the white ones... the ones that went from green to red, and from blue to yellow, and from red to white... I sat there, captivated by the beauty of the night sky. A few moments later, I glanced around, and saw everybody in the crowd equally taken in by the scenery. It was a marveling at all of the Chinese team's creation and its beauty from within.

There were the punctuating moments, when the fireworks literally lit up the entire night sky, and it dawned upon me that it wasn't just China's performance that was amazing, it was the entire concept of HSBC's Celebration of Light. The crowed "oooh"-ed and "ahhh"-ed during those moments, when the entire night sky was filled with flares.

Given the title, the music and the display, I struggled for words to describe the meaning behind the fireworks performance put up by China. What were they trying to communicate? Were they doing a journey back into the past, making us think about our personal lives, when we were young, when we were happy, when we were troubled? Or were they communicating their aspirations for their homeland, to grow stronger and stronger day by day? Or were they displaying, in abstract terms, the history of their nation, the trials and tribulations that it has gone through?

I admire the Chinese spirit in adversity; it's very much like the Jews'. A never-say-die attitude, a willingness to work at the problem. (I guess the complacency displayed in times of abundance by most Chinese is quite starkly visible compared to other societies', which is my only problem with Chinese way of thought - a focus on the superficial, the family pride etc.) The teamwork, coordination, buildup, emotion... this team definitely did do an amazing job. Kudos!

I shall be uploading the video (820MB!!!) soon. Hopefully I get to compress it down such that it's "uploadable" by YouTube restrictions.

Monday, July 30, 2007

静心思考 || Reflection

So my birthday came and went quietly, peacefully, with a few well-wishers wishing me a happy birthday. Thank you guys: Rachel, Charles, Joey and Cindy for remembering, as well as Ming Han, my mom and Aunty Amy in Singapore, and Choops in Aussie. Thanks to Leon for bringing me to this awesome Memphis Blues restaurant to feast on meat, something I'd never do regularly.. 4 days later, I have some thoughts. (Yes, I'm very slow.)

I deliberately removed my birth date from Facebook, but I forgot about it on my Blogger profile, therefore, Charles managed to find it in the end, and, together with Joey, they both wrote me a card.

Charles wrote something that struck a chord with me deeply:
"I suppose somewhere along the way of you living independently, birthdays hardly matter as a milestone of development and maturity. You've found work that you love and are already more than capable of setting and achieving your own explicit goals." [Btw, Charles wrote the "E" in my name as a Σ. So typically him. ;-)]

I guess I'm not too sure what "explicit goals" means, but I realized that I've transformed quite a bit. I guess not wrt. birthdays - since I was 14 I've never really wanted any party. All I wanted was my chance to get to eat 2 eggs rather than 1 in the morning, which only occurred on 26 July of each year. Then my classmates would give me a card, and the day would be over quickly.

So, as people may be wondering, on July 26 2007, what did I do? Just another work day, to start. I went to work earlier, because Tim (our PhD student in the lab) and I had stuff to do earlier in the morning, I think. 4 days later on, my memory gets a little gray-ish. But I remember helping out Valeria (our post-doc in the lab) until late - I was doing lots of pipetting and preparing the cells for something else. Thankfully I didn't screw up. I didn't get off at my usual 4.30pm, but rather at 6.00pm. It was fun, though. Another day where I get to apply my knowledge. Then I had dinner and dessert with Leon, and then I looked at the digital SLRs. That's about it. Worked well for me.

Amidst the silence and peace that I get when I don't do any big major partying, I get reflective. Which, I guess, is a good thing. Let's me look back on my life a bit more.

Over the year, I survived Science One, and graduated as an official Science One survivor. I then moved on and screwed up 3 summer courses by deciding to take them all at one go, leaving me not enough time to study for them, and with a bigger gap to fill up for next year's MBIM admissions process.

I made awesome friends in SciOne: top of the list include Charles, Joey, Cindy, Rachel, Si Rim, Sally and Matt, the latter four also part of our in-house Totem Park Musical. May the bunch of us always keep in touch. And to Si Rim and Rachel - WE NEED TO JAM AGAIN.

I became environmentally conscious, and now I intend to make sustainable living a part of my new life at Thunderbird Residence.

By a stroke of luck's big brush, I got a summer research student position at the BC Cancer Research Center, in the TFL's Takei Lab, where I'm being trained and learning more about immunological research. I hope they let me stay on during the winter session - I so totally would, if only Dr. Takei would nod his head.

I learned a lot of life's lessons. Tolerance, effectiveness, fear (in a positive sense), and most importantly, humility. Learning is one thing though. I sometimes wonder if I'm applying them in my daily life, and living out those lessons properly.

I defined my university career goals and life goals properly. I want to be a scientist, to discover and develop a broad-spectrum cancer treatment that targets cancer cells without targeting body cells.

I have enjoyed the company of friends, of visiting their families and homes. I have discovered the hospitality and compassion that they and their families have shown towards me, and I am appreciative of that. Thank you Rachel, Charles and Cindy, I really enjoyed going over to your places. JOEY, YOU'RE NEXT!! =P

I have learned how to cook properly. Well, maybe not properly, I guess. But at least decently, such that I can survive on it. A summer worth of cooking, plus the lessons I learned from so many people - Aunty Mei, Uncle Poh Bin, Chen Bin, Leon, Junning, Zhang Yi...

Random thoughts galore. But I guess none of this has anything to do with Charles' statement, no?

Actually not. These milestones never occurred on 26 July of any year. These milestones always occur throughout the year. They served as more important reminders than my birthday did. I guess it's because nothing really striking or groundbreaking occurs on 26 July. Then again, I never did record the dates of when I felt I learned something from what life had to offer, so the process isn't discrete for me, it's continuous.

That's what I've been reflecting, both subconsciously and consciously, over the past few days.

I'm 20 now, 1 year older than most people in my graduating class. Nobody at Staples believed that I was only 19 when I worked there, and I guess nobody now (except for people that know me) thinks that I'm only 20 years old.

I guess I'm just old.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Kitchen

I just came back this afternoon from Cindy's kitchen. It is AMAZING. Fully-stocked with what you need to do almost any meal. Organized and clean and tidy. BIG! Most importantly, it is logically organized. Spices in one cabinet, knives in another, pots and pans in a third... when I move to Thunderbird, I am so going to organize everything properly.

And the dishes that Cindy, Charles and I made were amazing too. I couldn't believe that we actually have so much artistic culinary talent lying around here in Sci1. Imagine - spinach dip with crusted bagels for an appetizer, berry smoothies with homemade nachos as a starter, and then sundried tomato pasta with roast chicken as our main dish, and then green tea chocolate dipped berries and a white chocolate blueberry crumble as dessert - it is mind-blowing. Couple that with lunch on the balcony, a gathering of the Sci1-ers who are, as Mark Ho called us, "normal", sea view, sunshine, music (from my MacBook, of course!) and chit-chat. It was an amazing afternoon of friendship and food.

In fact, it was an amazing night over with Charles and Cindy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Numbers

Very interesting... I've memorized my credit card number... next number: debit card number.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pride, Elation, and Happiness

I am proud, I declare to the world, I am proud.

I am proud of Hwa Chong's track and field team. Their dominance in Singapore's school track and field scene is amazing - while I was there, we did the double of the B and C div championships, but when I left, the amazing juniors who, in 2002, broke 13 national records including overall team score picked up where my batch didn't, and finally clinched the A division championships. At the same time, in the past three years, they have done the treble thrice - a treble of trebles. Amazing.


I am proud of the achievements of my school. We continue to go from strength to strength, in sports, in academics, in leadership, in community service, we continue to lead other schools. Hwa Chong is definitely the school to be in, I must say.

I must say that my junior, Jin Yang, must be very proud to be on the podium to lift the trophy on behalf of the school. Way to go, JoY!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend

So today, I came out with Charles after a sleepover at his place. (Cindy, yours is next week =P) We went to the UBC Bookstore and hung out, found Celeste and talked briefly with her before her kids started to ask to continue on the scavenger hunt. He bought Harry Potter, and I said, "Charles, man, I'm about to order it online at Amazon.ca, where I can get it for 1/2 price, not just 30% off." So I did that, and got him an extra copy as well. It should come about July 30th latest.

Now, Charles is one heck of an amazing soccer player - on the Nintendo Gamecube! lolz. I was out-passed, out-classed and out-shot in a match between Man Utd and Juventus that ended 0-1. Haha, if only he was a better player in real life - it'd be an amazing one-on-one tackler if he played defense against my attack.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dessert

So I'm sleeping over at Charles' place tonight. We made our own dinner, and dessert. It tasted pretty darned good, so I'm planning to look for those ingredients we used today to try it out.

Dig this: add the chocolate drizzle with a flourish, and it becomes a dish that one can eat at a restaurant for $4, maybe even $5. Man, the usefulness of putting a little more thought and effort.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

PCR PCR

I finally did one run of a PCR entirely on my own - from taking the DNA, to putting in the master mix, to running the gel, and I obtained a result! Feels good to have known that I did the PCR properly - next step is for me to practice extracting DNA.

Next week, I've got a number of things I want to learn how to do, and one of them is to properly thaw and culture OP9 cells. (OP9 cells are stromal cells which have an "immortalization" mutation; they are grown as cells that help NK cells mature.)

This is what the gel looks like:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thoughts at work on a rainy day

It has been raining pretty badly these few days. Well, badly compared to the relative heat that has been scorching over Vancouver. But I must say, it has been a refreshing change... if the heat of the day is bad, then rain must be a good thing.

I've been in the lab reading, cleaning, pipetting, running gels... to many, it sounds boring, because it's so repetitive. But I'm enjoying it a lot. I have my own cell culture to maintain -- it's like keeping a pet! -- and I run PCR gels for other people in the lab. I do want to get trained in other areas though, like doing an actual PCR for myself, making single-cell suspensions from tissues, and best of all, sorting. Cell sorting. But I guess it'll take me about 2 months to be able to do that.

Like I mentioned before, I hope that within the next month or so I can prove myself worthy of being able to carry out my own project independently. It would be something I'd just love to do.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

PCR... PCR...

Okay, so here I am waiting for my PCR product to be finished. The first one that Tim, the PhD student looking after my training on the job right now, and I did failed... we had no marks on the gel when exposed to UV light. So I asked him if I could do it with another sample, just to practice and to fill up some time... otherwise I'd be sitting around doing nothing again...

I know I've probably messed up the first 3 wells, which are ladder 1, sample 1 and sample 2. But hopefully I've gotten the other 8 wells done right.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

First Day at BCCRC

So I ended my last post with thoughts on leaving Staples. Today was an exciting day, on the other hand, as I embarked on my first day at the BCCRC.

I biked there in the morning, really nice weather for biking, so I enjoyed it a lot. Then I went through some orientation on lab safety and admin procedures, and got straight down to work - PCR. Did a bit of the pipetting, learned some of the technique, and then completed it with lunch and some resting in the afternoon. Quite a day for the first day of work - less than I expected. But I hope for more to come later on.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It seems that rich text availability for Safari hasn't come out yet on Blogger. I guess I'll just have to switch to Firefox whenever I want to blog.

Friday, June 29, 2007

My Last Day At Staples

These last few entries, I know, have been boring. They've focused and revolved around my feelings. But this time, I'll share something special that happened today.

I ended my time at the store with a bang. Two sales, one camera perfect sale with all the class attachments (minus ESP), and another laptop sale with an ESP. Well, really the camera sale was Chad's, I just chipped in when I could. The gentlemen was really nice, really patient, and so I let Chad deal with him, but I focused on doing my last ever closing announcement with the store. Slow, cautious, with emotion. I wonder if I'll ever go back and work there. Maybe, maybe not. I do know I'll pop by and get things, but it's different being the customer, as opposed to being the salesman. I'm very sure Chad will fill in my shoes very quickly.

Best thing is, Steve, like a really big brother or a very young dad, whipped out his camera and got us photos, photos of everybody together at Copy Center! I will definitely want one of them... I'm leaving my contact information with the store, just in case anybody there wants to contact me.

To Steve: It was really great working with you. You're really my favorite manager, for I've not met another manager effective and yet friendly at the same time. I wish you all the best in your Staples career.

To Sheen: You're a great consultant man. I'll keep the offer open to rejoin the store later in the year if I have the time. And don't forget, we go exercising after your GRE!

To Chad: You'll become an awesome salesperson in no time. Keep going, you'll reach there soon!

To Vanessa: I'm gonna miss poking you man... And I'm sure you'll miss punching me. =P

To Graeme: Good luck with your next job! I wish you all the best, may you achieve your dreams step by step.

Last Days at Work

These last few days at work have been somewhat emotional. Understandable, given the fact that I have worked at Staples 239 for almost 10 months now... I still remembered that my first interview was given by Chris, the covering manager, and then I had my 2nd interview, by Aaron. And then bang, I was hired. It was the beginning of my relationship with the store, something that I now will cherish very dearly.

It was a place where I put in my blood, sweat, heart and soul. Well, of course not more than my academics would allow, because after all, that comes first. But everything else... One could say that my life revolved around the scheduling. Could I go for a swim? Uhh, had to see whether I had to work or not. Could I go for dinner sometime? Sorry guys, I've gotta work on that day. Next time book me a week in advance. That kind of thing.

Now I'm going full time with the BC Cancer Research Center. This is gonna be fun, I'll get to work in a lab for real. But that means I'll be quitting from the store, Staples 239. Am I ready to move on from this job at which I've gotten comfortable with?

It's cliche, but one doesn't know what one's got until one's lost it. At times I took my job for granted, thinking I'd always be able to keep it, that I'd be able to excel at it. Well, it turns out no. These few days, I've been forced to sit down and think about what I've achieved at the store, what I've not achieved at the store, and what I can leave behind for future employees that come through the store. Well, I've decided on it.

I will leave a report on my HP training. Maybe I've already mentioned that. But I added in a small bit today. I added in a list of pointers to increase the effectiveness of the salespeople at the store. Some sharing of my own experience. I hope it leaves behind a legacy that can be continued - that others who come by will care enough for the business to leave behind their experiences for others.

Danielle, one of my co-workers who has made work much more fun and enjoyable for me, asked me to print something in color from the color laser that I just bought (that cost will be shared between me and Leon). I gave her a photo of the Morinaga candies arranged in a smiley face, printed on nice paper and with a note to go with it too. I'll miss working with her, that's for sure.

Tomorrow will be my last shift with the store. Well, technically later on today. But you get the point.

It will be my last shift with Steven, Vanessa, Chad, Carolyn, Sean, Colin, Sheen, Graeme, Anita, Clifton and Will. These are the people I will meet throughout the day. It will be my last closing shift with Colin, Chad, Graeme and Vanessa. These are the people I will close the store with. Steve, or maybe Rita as well. I hope everything goes well for them... and I'll have to get used to not seeing them around.

Au revoir, Staples 239.

-----

On another note, I reviewed the offer of employment that was sent to me today. And that definitely cheered me up a bit. I have the option to go beyond summer, by mutual consent. That means I will have to make sure I'm an irresistible proposition for Dr. Takei to let me continue at his lab.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Letter to the Management

Dear Rita,

RE: Termination of Employment at Store 239, Staples Business Depot.

I’d like to thank you and the current management team for providing me with such a great time of employment over the past few months. I’ve had an amazing time here, having seen the positive changes that have been made since the new management team took over, especially with the reinforcement of the camaraderie and teamwork in the Computer Dept., my primary area of duties, and its re-organization.

I have found another job for the summer, at the BC Cancer Research Center (BCCRC), where I will be working full-time as a Summer Research Student. Hence, it is with a heavy heart that I ask to leave a place that I have literally called my 2nd home for the past 10 months. My new position will provide me with working experience highly relevant to my intended major, Microbiology and Immunology, and hence I have opted to go for greener pastures.

In order to facilitate my transition to a full-time job, monthly-paid at the BCCRC, I’d like to request to terminate my employment effective 10 July 2007 (two weeks from today). I feel that it would help if I could request not to be scheduled for the week of 1 July 2007, so that I could join the BCCRC on a more “regular” start date “i.e. beginning of the month. This would also give me more time to work on the project that they have prepared for me.

In return for this big favor, I am prepared to do a detailed write-up on the latest HP training module that I was sent for, to help coach my colleagues in the department as well as other potential computer department associates (e.g. Chad – he’s definitely great for the dept. too) on the stuff I’ve learned at the training session. With your permission, I hope you will allow this to happen.

Thank you again for giving me this opportunity to learn from you and the management team, and for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the store’s cause and goals. I definitely will cherish this chance given to me.

Yours truly,




Eric Asava-Aree

New Job = Uncertainty

It's been the first time in a while since I've been overwhelmed with emotions. I realize now, that it's really hard leaving a job I've loved and dedicated myself to for the past 10 months.

Yes, I'm leaving for greener pastures, for a lab job at the BC Cancer Research Center (BCCRC). And I am truly excited for it. I'll be heading for a place of employment where I'll be working on stuff that's unexplored, stuff that's being discovered... Exciting stuff. I once told Leon, that's what I want to be doing - something that many people can't do or won't do, 'cause that's something I view as cool.

Yet, writing the letter of resignation was so tough. There's so much I want to say to my manager, Rita, for she and Jenn have been like mothers to the store. And then there's Steven, who's really a Mr. Nice Guy, and who told me, it's perfectly okay if I go, because he'll understand the reasons why I'm leaving. I leave with a heavy heart, from a place where everybody's been so nice, a place where I've contributed my 110% almost every time I go to work. Yeah, almost -- nobody's perfect, eh?

Tomorrow I'm going in to speak to the managers. I'll have my letter on hand. Hopefully they'll let me off on 1st July, rather than 10th July. It really would help my employment with BCCRC -- I'd get to start on the project earlier, and it'll be a more regular start time of employment. I dunno. There's a lot of uncertainty in me right now.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Yay! Lab!

Yay! I've gotten my lab job. But that also means I have to tender my resignation from Staples. *sigh* I hope I can be released earlier...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

第一次领诗

哇,第一次领诗,还真感到紧张呢。但还是感谢主,有Phyllis陪我祷告,度过了这次的经历。下回,绝对不能说“命苦”lolz...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Lab Volunteer --> Lab Employment

I recently sent my friend Zigang some e-mails, and she provided a number of good pieces of advice throughout. That seems to be the power of having friends who are at least 3 or 4 years older that yourself (I dunno Zigang's age, and I don't plan to publish it anyhow =P).

---June 19 2007---
Hi Zigang,

Glad to be over after 13 months, that's for sure.

I don't have any plans, really, except to continue working at Staples and enjoy the rest of my time here. I'm looking for a lab that specializes in cancer research to volunteer with, because I want to get to know about the life of a researcher and get lab working experience. It may also lead to future employment opportunities. But at this stage, it seems hard to take the first step and write in... I have a feeling that I'm afraid of rejection. I'm not sure. Maybe I'm just taking this matter too seriously.

Now that I know that Acts 26 is the most important chapter in Paul's life, I'll definitely read it up.

Have a safe flight back to Vancouver!

Cheers,
Eric

---June 19 2007---
Hi Eric,

Rejection is often a necessary (and dim) doorway to the hall of success. It
is also a sift for golden opportunities.

If you are given ten boxes of similar size and weight and are told that nine
are empty but one contains a present that is bigger and better than you have
ever asked for, how would you feel after opening a few empty boxes?

Enjoy pursuing your dream!

Blessings,

Zigang

---June 22 2007---
Hi Zigang,

Thank you for letting me know about that. It awakened my senses to reality.

So after reading your e-mail, I sent another to Dr. Fumio Takei at the BC Cancer Research Center, whose work directly deals with stuff I've just learned in MICB202, Introductory Microbiology and Immunology. That was on Thursday morning. Immediately, I had a reply from him saying that I could go down to the BCCRC and meet him at his office on Friday or Tuesday. Naturally, I accepted the invitation for Friday, and called him back.

This morning (Friday), I went to the BCCRC, where surprisingly, he said that he wouldn't take any volunteers. Rather, he would be willing to take me in as a paid summer research student if any one of his graduate students or post-docs were willing to. He asked me if I could go 40 hrs/week with them until the rest of the summer ends, and I said if I were to be accepted, I would immediately hand-in my 2-weeks notice to Staples. He also showed me his facilities, and introduced me to one of his grad students and one post-doc.

Now everything hinges on whether any one of his subordinates are willing to take me in to assist them with their project. Hopefully I will get to do something really meaningful and help out a lot if I do partner with one of them.

Thanks for giving your advice!

Cheers,
Eric

---Thoughts---

I guess it really is valuable. I'm glad I had a chance to at least speak to the researcher Dr. Takei. Now I really hope I'll be able to work under him for the rest of the summer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Biking

Oh gosh, I actually biked to Broadway station from UBC (which is the entire 99 B-line route), went to Metrotown station to do my groceries, and came back by bike from Broadway station to Safeway. Over two hours worth of biking and sky-training and busing. And now for swimming with Leon. Ahhhhhhh...

Kiddish

Oh gosh, I guess I'm still waiting like a little kid for my summer term marks to be out. Gee. Kept on checking the SSC for the grades, but they're not gonna be out for a while anyways. I should just stop.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Friends places to go:

So after visiting a number of people, it's time to make a list of and count down how many more people's places I have to go to for food this summer.

-Charles: "mine" =P [Korean BBQ was awesome man! Thanks for the invite; if you need a sleepover during the summer, just let me know! Oh, and I have to crash your place again.=P]
-Joey: MALAYSIAN FOOD MAN!
-Cindy: Taiwanese food. Oh well, it's really an excuse for "just the four of us" to gather again. In White Rock too.
-Rachel: Real Chinese food.... yummy... [Ahh, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and food. Thanks for inviting me over for dinner!]
-Irfan: Ooh man, I can't wait to taste authentic Indian food!
-Leon: Oh well, I'll be moving in with you, so no worries about it.
-Si Rim: One more go at your mom's awesome Korean dishes man! And jamming too. Call Rachel down - all 3 of us need to jam again.

Ahhh, a great day. And all about food at friends' places.

I guess it's one of those rare days. A day when an old customer pops up and gives us a big order. We were up against $3600, and I handled $2500 of it! Then we popped up all the way to $8200. AMAZING! I sure hope Fred comes back again. Of course, he does make me tired, and I usually have to sacrifice my breaks to ensure he goes away smiling.

And then dinner at Rachel's place... authentic mainland Chinese food... OMG I have not had such amazing food for ages!!! And her dad's definitely a good chef - the chicken wings were amazing. I'm definitely gonna respect intellectual property rights and NOT try to figure out the dish. Probably won't be able to anyways. I wonder if Charles' parents are just as good. Wouldn't mind having real HK food at his place. And Josephine -- MALAYSIAN FOOD MAN! Too bad I haven't gone yet. And of course, can never forget Si Rim (Dr. Bass) and his mom - man, his mom makes AMAZING Korean dishes. (insert some moans of satisfaction here) Geez, I'm such a glutton.

But then again, I must be allowed to contribute somehow, otherwise I'd feel pretty useless. For example, at Charles' dinner, at least he knew about my cleaning habits and allowed me to wash up all the dishes, even though the typical host wouldn't want that for their guest. Then again, if his parents were around, they'd probably not allow it. But at Rachel's place, absolutely nothing: no washing, no helping to prepare food... it's like the guest is king. I felt like "aiya...", I was relegated to just setting the table and compiling the dirty dishes after dinner, and that's it. I guess it was the first time I wasn't allowed to do dishes. lolz. Aside from that, though, they're a nice family, had a great chat, gave me that homely feeling, so all in all, it was a really great trip down to Surrey. Two thumbs up for the food especially. After all, that's what the focus of this post is.

And so Josephine came by one afternoon, and she had fried rice which used kecap manis as the sauce, as well as BBQ pork, and a whole host of other things. The best part is, she finally refrained from using BALLS in the food. So I tried some, and it's amazing. A pity Charles wasn't around, I'm sure he'd love her cooking. 1.5 thumbs though, for there wasn't enough quantity - FRY MORE FOR ME NEXT TIME!!! (Actually, you're already assured of 2/2 thumbs Joey. =D)

And, 饺子 at Zhiming's place last Tuesday was really good too. And those 饺子 were authentic and tasty as well, hand-made by his wife, Haiying. They know my cleanliness habits too, so I guess they, in mock-despair, allow me to wash up. I had a chance to help out that day too; I washed the dishes while Zhiming made the appetizers, so it helped that I could contribute, even though I didn't bring a dish like Luo Pan and Jingchan. Nonetheless, two thumbs up for the food.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

饺子

今天在志明家吃了饺子,真好吃。好久没吃了这么好吃的饺子了。上回也只有在春节的时候才有机会吃。没想到,居然吃得太饱,结果差不多走不动了。但还是觉得,挺好吃。上次是去了Charles'家吃饭,吃的是韩国菜,下回就要到Rachel家吃饭,希望还会有好吃的呢!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ahh, finally. Under control.

So in response to that addiction of mine, I've decided to delete Battle for Wesnoth from my computer and move it instead to my external hard drive. That'll reduce the impetus for me to play on it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

AGGGH!!! HELP!!!

I'm totally addicted to Battle for Wesnoth. I need help getting rid of the addiction...

That said, I did just have a great bike ride outside. No photos, though. Sorry! =P

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Missed Class

Argh! So I slept in today, after playing "Battle for Wesnoth" yesterday for over 4 hours. I can't believe how addictive a turn-based strategy game can get. >.<

I think it's time for me to get back on track with my life. As if House every night wasn't bad enough. >.<

Friday, June 01, 2007

Woot~ 90.6% for CHEM233 MT2!

Woohoo! It seems all the slogging paid off. After a bad day at work, I come home to see my CHEM233 MT2 marks -- 39/42! What a pleasant surprise.

But as usual, with my nonchalant self, I must learn to control the elatedness and quickly settle back down to go for 100%. ;-) But don't worry, I won't kill myself if I don't get 100%. Goals were never meant to be attained.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Pleasant Surprise

It turns out I've been named onto the Dean's Honor List in the Faculty of Science. I must keep this up, and strive next to be a Science Scholar. 83 for Science One -- it can only get better from now onwards.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Field Day

It was a field day at the store. Unexpectedly for a statutory holiday, where we'd expect everybody to be out enjoying the sun (it is nice and sunny outside right now -- see the photo below!) instead. Rather, I was kept busy from right when the store opened - and I didn't even have enough time to complete my out of stock report! Wow, I think we're gonna comp and go beyond our budget that we need for the store.


Now, what am I going to do tonight? Well, for one, I have to eat dinner. And I have to finish revision for Microbiology, the pre-readings required for the week. AND not to mention, lots of practice problems that I have to do as well. Then there's prep for Organic Chem lab... the one I screwed up last Thursday. *sigh* I hope it goes well this time.

Alright, gotta go now.

Writing - Or The Lack Of It

Talent can only carry you so far. Flair can only do so much. It's important to keep on working at it - that will take you the furthest.

I haven't written long pieces in such a long time. I remembered how I used to have to write papers for GP (General Paper), expository and argumentative style, and how I would breeze through it making case after case, argument after argument. I guess it was a matter of the training, a matter of being able to think quickly, to synthesize seemingly disconnected pieces of material together in a short period of time and presenting a final logical case that worked. It seems I've lost it altogether.

Rather, my life has been consumed by Science, a field I absolutely love. Having finished Science One with a good grades and a scholarship to top it off, I then move on to take Organic Chemistry and Microbiology (totally bombing-out of an organic chem lab while at it). The amount of argumentative and expository writing that I've done this whole year is limited to the two ENGL112 expository and argumentative essays that I was given, plus 4 ENGL110 literary essays (which hardly count as the socio-political-historical argumentative essays that I used to do for GP). It seems something went missing.

Yet, with amount of schoolwork that I have, with the number of Staples hours I work a week, plus my need for downtime, I leave little room for myself to write. Writing becomes relegated to the wee hours of the night, just like what I'm doing right now, having already wasted 3 hours from 11pm till 2am reading soccer news, talking to friends over MSN, and watching YouTube videos. I seriously need a life.

I think I will have to come back to this blog a little bit more than I used to during the school year. It's nice to be able to write down things of a specific topic, and expound on them through a paragraph or two. Just like the rambling that I'm doing right now. It needn't be anything too structured or formal; just needs to be a free-flow of thoughts.

------------

Ethan wants to buy a MacBook Pro, and I had a long discussion with him over whether or not he should buy it. His goal is to use it for gaming, and I'm against that... but he seemed so intent on it. I will pray about it, wondering whether I'm doing the right thing or not. If not, I will tell him that I cannot do it, that it is not the right thing to do, and hope that he understands. He may be 1 year younger than me, but I have a feeling that he thinks as if he is 3 or maybe even 4 years younger.

But then again, I noticed how Asians in general get so hyped up about discounts (except if they've been in N. America long enough). Ethan tried in vain to wrap his head around my store's discount policy, which is pretty complicated - we don't have a one-discount-fits-all policy. And even after I revealed as much as he should know, he was still questioning the wrong things. *sigh*

I had these thoughts after that: A discount is a discount, and in N. America, just be grateful for getting a discount, because a discount is something done as a favor, not a right that one can haggle and argue for. Staples gives staff a discount because it's a method of employee reward, but when we choose to risk our own position to help friends by things, especially if it's big things, then those friends should be more understanding and not try to chase us for further discounts. I'm only glad that Ethan didn't press me further on it after I told him that I would calculate everything properly for him.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Post after a Hiatus

It seems I've not been here for a while.

A lot has happened in the past week, but I've decided just to focus on yesterday. One of the better days, I guess, and it can only happen after bombing-out of a chem lab the day before. I guess it's really that I bounce back from defeat pretty quickly.

So on Thursday, I literally bombed out of a chem lab. Lost sample, have to restart next week, and take a 5-point penalty off from 40. That's pretty hefty. But considering that I have more time to do my lab (no solubility tests to do), it should be fine.

But on Friday, whoa, on Friday, it was a day that went unusually smoothly. I had a rough night too - 2 hours of sleep in total - but I pulled through it miraculously. Must be divine intervention.

Morning - Chem mid-term, went smoothly, and it was marked the evening straight away. I have an 81% on the first organic chem mid-term, and I think that's pretty cool.

Afternoon - Went to work, and served many customers with top-knotch customer service. I think I do it only when Steven is in, coz he really motivates me to work with his "chillax" outlook - it's like, we have a goal, and we'll do our best to achieve it, and I will be able to tell whether you guys tried to achieve it, but if we don't, so be it - and he allowed me 1/2 hr to install RAM on my computer to boost it to 2GB, over-extending on my 15 min break time, but of course, I promised to repay it by taking 15 min. less when it's busy.

Evening - Found that I've received a $1000 scholarship for my 83% in Science One. Yay! I sure hope I'm able to manage it, in addition to my other earnings for the year, a lot lot better.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Last night in Totem Park

I wonder how many times a year I get to be this philosophical, and most importantly, with enough free time on hand to write entries like this.

I recall the first day I moved into Totem Park. I hated it. It totally lived up to its reputation. It was a party house, a drunkard's haven, a slum to live in. Showers looked old, shower heads were leaky, floor was rowdy... the list goes on. I was determined to be the sober guy around.

But I realized how different things could be once I tried to integrate. People with similar thoughts were actually around. Graham Beebe, a fellow man with equal amounts of thoughts about life, popped by my door one night and just said hi. We chatted a bit, and the parted for bed. I never realized we'd have more in common than we thought.

The rowdy nights carried on. I remember blasting at my floormates thrice in a night, with a nerdy scream, "For the nth time already, SHUT UP!!!". I would come to a revelation with this screaming at my floormates at the end of the year.

I remember discovering other Sci1-ers in Rez, particularly Rachel, Sirim and Sally. Of course, there was American Phil, Kaylen, Breanne moving in during the 2nd term, Nathan, and Yana (forgive me if I forgot a few!). Study parties at my place, late-night jamming sessions, and then going to class bushed out and tired.

I remember how the 2nd term flew by, all with the musical rehearsals, and RezSC. Not to mention working, school, and trying to keep myself sane. I guess I did.

I remember how I promised my floor's guys one night that I'd take a sip of alcoholic drinks, and they ended up giving me a shot instead, with some coke to chase it down too. I also recall rejecting Sirim's alcohol pushing, wanting to keep myself the sane and sober guy.

I remember how big the musical was, how great and professionally put up it was, and the friends who came to support the five of us Sci1-ers in the musical: myself (chorus), Matt (scarecrow), Sirim (bassist), Rachel and Sally (pianists). Our musical, The Wiz, was to be the last musical ever performed in that commonsblock. It will now be renovated, and the memories will last only in our photos and the video.

Finals came, esp. for 2nd term. I composed the song Science One Days, a parody to Yesterday by the Beatles, and asked people at 2 am in the morning (right before chem finals). A crazy night.

Tonight, the guys on my floor are drunk and getting rowdy. But I chose to lock myself in my room, packing, prepping for the next step, moving to Fairview Crescent.

I guess with that much havoc going on outside, I'd better stop and move on. Bad start turned into good memories. I figure this'll be how I remember Totem Park in 2006/2007.